Sensitivity analysis and statistical convergence of a saltating particle model

Alistair Borthwick, Sergio Maldonado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Saltation models provide considerable insight into near-bed sediment transport. This paper outlines a simple, efficient numerical model of stochastic saltation, which is validated against previously published experimental data on saltation in a channel of nearly horizontal bed. Convergence tests are systematically applied to ensure the model is free from statistical errors emanating from the number of particle hops considered. Two criteria for statistical convergence are derived; according to the first criterion, at least 103 hops appear to be necessary for convergent results, whereas 104 saltations seem to be the minimum required in order to achieve statistical convergence in accordance with the second criterion. Two empirical formulas for lift force are considered: one dependent on the slip (relative) velocity of the particle multiplied by the vertical gradient of the horizontal flow velocity component; the other dependent on the difference between the squares of the slip velocity components at the top and bottom of the particle. The former is found to give more stable results. A parameter study indicates that the saltation length has a minimum value with increasing particle diameter (at D ∼ 12) for a given transport stage. Variations in the friction
coefficient and collision line level have a negligible effect on the saltation statistics within the ranges considered. Regression equations are obtained for each of the saltation characteristics. Finally, the model is used to evaluate the bed-load transport rate, which is in satisfactory agreement with common formulas based on flume data, especially when compared against other saltation-derived expressions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)04014091-1 to 11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Hydraulic Engineering
Early online date15 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Bed load; saltating particle model, statistical convergence, sensitivity analysis, sediment transport, number of hops


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